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News-Herald Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Kleps doesn’t just write headlines and stories. He also checks on his fantasy sports teams. A lot. See if the moves and news from the world of sports affect your fantasy teams.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Fantasy baseball: Paging Stephen Strasburg

He wowed us last year as a rookie, striking out a ridiculous 92 batters in 68 innings for the Nationals.

Sunday, Stephen Strasburg toed the mound for Class A Hagerstown (Md.). It was big news because he threw in a game for the first time since he blew out his right elbow on Aug. 21, 2010. Thirteen days after that, the top pick of the 2009 draft had the dreaded Tommy John surgery.

A little more than 11 months following surgery, Strasburg hit 98 mph on the radar gun in his first rehab start. According to reports, he regularly threw in the mid- to high 90s. Twenty-five of his 31 pitches in 1 2/3 innings were strikes, and he struck out four of the eight batters he faced.

"(The velocity was) not where it was," Strasburg told reporters.

But it's close enough, and the appearance has captured the attention of us, the fantasy nerds.

We realize the best-case scenario is Strasburg won't pitch for the Nationals until September, and even then, he'll be on a very limited pitch count.

Regardless, we can't help but be excited about the possibility of inserting him in our lineups during the fantasy postseason, which begins the week of Sept. 5 in many leagues.

If you make the postseason in your league, chances are you have some solid starting pitching. If you need help in Ks, though, Strasburg could provide a boost -- even if he only throws five innings.

If you need anything else from him in a particular week (say, wins), you should probably look elsewhere. Depending on his pitch count, he might not last five innings in some starts.

If nothing else, Strasburg has us looking forward to drafting him next year (or keeping him, if you're in a dynasty format).

Sunday, he said he expects to be "back to normal" by next spring.

He will provide one of the more intriguing draft-day subplots in 2012.

Until then, acquire him on the waiver wire if you believe you'll need some strikeouts in the postseason -- but do so quickly.

As of Sunday night, Strasburg already was owned in 8.3 percent of the leagues on

By Monday morning, that figure likely will triple.

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